Monday, July 7, 2014

Taking the Dive

Everyone that knows me knows that I love to play video games. People who know my gaming habits a bit better know that I enjoy getting achievements on the Xbox platforms. And those that are really in my gaming circles know that I keep track (almost religiously) of the percentage of achievements I actually gain, out of how many are possible in the games I play. I typically hang around 60% (have recently bumped to 65%), due to some achievements being out of my reach (finishing games on Insane difficulties, getting to an extremely high level cap in multiplayer modes that I will never enjoy playing, etc).

I know, I know. A lot of people tell me, "they're just arbitrary goals in a game, why bother with achievements?" For me, paying attention to achievements, and more over, to the percentage, helps me get more out of the games. If I just play them until I finish the campaign, I finish the games too quickly, and miss out on a lot of things the developers put into them. So keeping track of achievements, and trying to keep my percentage complete high, is important to me for those reasons.

Also, as anyone who's ever indulged in a Steam sale knows, sometimes we buy games when they're cheap because we want to play them eventually, and then they just sit there unplayed. Sometimes for years. Many times, due to more new, fun games coming out, we never get around to playing the games we bought. Seems like a waste of some really good, fun times that we wanted, but will never have.

That's where this weekend comes in. Years ago, a member on, a site I use to track my achievements and percentages had a great idea. We all love to keep our completion percentage high, and we all end up with a lot of backlogged games. How do we fix that? Absolutely annihilate our completion percentage by getting a single achievement in every game of our backlog. That will force those of us that care about these things to play those games in order to get our completion percentage back to where we started. In short, you force yourself to play the games you've been neglecting by forcing them onto your profile.

This idea from this member has now become a yearly event, called a Bean Dive (the user's name was beanpotter, so they used his name for the event). This weekend began the 5th annual Bean Dive.

Since I got my first Xbox 360 about 7 years ago, my backlog of games has been building. Nacho got me The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for my birthday in 2007, and I had never played it. I've purchased games (and their sequels) based on amazing reviews, but never got around to them. Microsoft has given away free games that I just haven't had time to play (not all of which are ones I would play to begin with, but a handful of them are ones I would have bought cheap, anyway). In all, in 7 years I have amassed 30 games that I wanted to, but haven't had the time/motivation to play. So I decided this year's Bean Dive was as good a time as any to force them on myself.

When this weekend started, I had a 65% completion percentage. I spent around 8 hours getting a single achievement in all 30 of these games, and ended the weekend at 52%. No turning back now. If I want that 60+% completion back, I'm going to have to finally play these games I've neglected through the years. And like I said, it's not going to be the chore of, "I have to recover the percentage because arbitrary numbers!" It's that I finally get to play the games I've been wanting to play. Finally.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The Man of Steel sequel has an official name, and an official logo. And I can't stop staring at it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Microsoft Unbundles Kinect - We All Win

Today, Microsoft announced that they are releasing an Xbox One retail box that does not include Kinect (they also no longer require a paid membership to access non-gaming apps, such as Netflix or Hulu Plus. Which is the right move, finally). This goes against what they said at E3 a year ago, that the system was built around Kinect, and that it was integral to the system. They say that this vision hasn't changed, but rather that the Kinect-less retail box will allow more gamers to get the One, as it is $100 cheaper.

Now, every person on the internet has an opinion about this situation, and if I try to sum up all the different thoughts on the matter, this post will be tens of thousands of words. But I can say this: every single opinion is right. Isn't that a neat concept? If someone feels strongly about a given system/game/architecture/requirement/benefit/etc, then that is exactly what is right for that person. Which is what's so great about being a human. You get to feel the way you want to feel about things.

What we can't deny is that, with this move, Microsoft has given every gamer the option to choose the system they want to own and play, regardless of price. Want the more powerful RAM? Buy a PS4. Want Sunset Overdrive? Buy an Xbox One. Want Mario? Buy the WiiU. Only have, like, $150? Buy a 2DS.

The thing is, with every gamer who wants to jump to the "next generation" being able to choose the system they prefer, and not forcing them to choose with the limitations of their wallet, developers can make games for both consoles knowing that everyone who wants a console can get whichever they prefer, so there will be many more consoles being sold. Before this move, devs would probably have been leaning toward primarily developing for PS4 because more "on the fence" gamers would buy that simply for the price difference. And if a dev is neglecting one system's development for another, then it just snowballs for the primary system.

As a gamer, this move means more quality games on more systems. That means more fun. And really, if you're playing video games, shouldn't you be enjoying them? Let's all let games be fun again, and stop talking about how terrible people are, and how stupid/fat/ugly their mom/girlfriend/dog is for enjoying a different gaming system.

Monday, May 12, 2014

A new coat of paint

For a few years now, I've been thinking about putting my hosting company in the grinder. While the host touted 99.9% uptime, the bandwidth always seemed a little limiting. Being able to load some small forums shouldn't take 30+ seconds. It only happened sometimes, but it's still sort of unacceptable.

Last month, some high intensity spambots decided to take over the user registration form on the Vanilla forums I had installed, started creating accounts, and (somehow) sending out spam from the registration form. The host, naturally, shut down the functionality (and the forums, in the process) to stop the spam. Their information to me? Set up a CAPTCHA on the registration form. Okay, great, except a) I already had the Vanilla-provided CAPTCHA set up, and b) I can't get to the admin panel to set anything new up, since you shut down all access to it.

I was able to manually pull the two years of posts out of the database (so, guys, if you want any info from your posts, let me know. I have it all), so at least all wasn't lost forever. But it did push forward how I was going to proceed with the movement from the host.

I haven't really liked doing the backend maintenance on any given installation (phpBB, WordPress, Vanilla, etc) for awhile now. It used to be fun, but now it's just annoying busy work. "Hey, your installation is out of date and people are spamming the site. Drop everything and spend an hour updating this." I just don't want to do that anymore.

So, long story...well...long, I have moved my domain registration to a different registrar (partly because I was registered with the hosting company, and I didn't really like them that much overall, but also because they don't do domain registration independent of hosting. So without hosting, I can't have my domain with them), and completely dropped hosting altogether.

My blog will be the front page (for now) as it always has, but it's hosted by Blogger (as it has been for awhile). The forums are now hosted by Google Groups to alleviate my need to update or moderate spam. For now the themes are completely disparate, as the forums are sort of what I want, but my blog is what it's been for a year or more. I'll probably look into theming them properly later, so don't go too crazy about that.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Tonight we had to say goodbye to yet another great man. Gary, while not family by blood, has been family for almost 20 years. He passed away last week in a tragic accident at work. This man would do anything for anyone at any time. He was always there for me, my family, and everyone he knew.

Earlier this week, Gary's family had been trying to decide where to have this gathering, and almost decided to have it at his house, saying that probably 20 or so people would show up. They decided on a gathering room at a hotel instead. About 10 minutes after the start time, the hotel staff had to open up walls into other rooms, as more than 150 people had arrived.

The gathering tonight was a remembrance, where people stood up and told stories about him, and the way he touched their lives. So many people had so many stories about him, and the great friend he was.

I regret that I didn't spend more time with him than I did. Every time we got together, we had a great time. Chatting about nothing, drinking Patron margaritas at Sadie's or Blue Moon at the Isotopes games. It was always fun, and I'll always remember those times.

But more than that, I will remember the great friendship he provided to every single person I know. He liked everyone, and treated everyone with such kindness. The only thing that mattered to him was what he could do to help you. He only wanted to see others happy, and anything he could do to help that was what he would do. That's how I will remember him, for the great man he was.

But when he really liked you? You got a ration of shit that you had to defend against, and throw a ration right back at him. Which is exactly what I expect, and have, with every great friend of mine. Those fun back-and-forth sessions of crap-giving made the fun times that much more memorable and awesome.

Gary, you are one of the best men I know, and I thank you for everything you've done for my family. You will be insanely missed.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dudes get cancer, too

Movember/No Shave November/Novembeard is all about prostate cancer awareness. The idea is that people see you with some ridiculous facial hair and it makes them think about it. Raising awareness through some stupid shit dudes would probably do, anyway.

To that end, I grew my Novembeard this year. But, being a guy, that's absolutely not enough. When the month ended tonight, I had to go with some ridiculous styles as I shaved back down to nothing. Enjoy.

Full Novembeard

Our 21st President, Chester A. Arthur 

Fu Manchu 

Porn 'stache 

Groucho Marx 

And finally, back to normal

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Let's try this again!

If there's one thing we all know in this world, it's that I'm bad at blogging. Typically it's because I feel like I don't have anything to say, or that what I have to say is not interesting enough that anyone would want to read it. Sure, I've blogged before, and I even succeeded in blogging 30 days in a row once. But I haven't really blogged in a few years.

We're going to try this again.

I am tired of managing the software updates that are required to use any software I have to install myself. I used to find it fun to have total control over what was installed and how it was operating, but I just don't have the time or energy to deal with that anymore. So I'm going to take another run at Blogger and let the fine folks at Google deal with the backend.

If this all works out well, you'll be hearing from me more here. I don't typically share much on Facebook, and I only share a bit on Google+, but this platform will give me a place to limit the exposure of my posts to only people that come to my site. And if I feel like sharing the post to Google+, it's just a click away.

So we'll try this again and see if I have anything to say after all these years of not blogging. Welcome back to The Blog of Stuff!